Why You Should Take Your Kids to Hike in Nature

Thursday, March 18, 2021 0 Comments A+ a-

Why You Should Take Your Kids to Hike in Nature

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Given the current circumstances, our kids are spending more and more time glued to their screens. From online classes to chatting with friends and playing video games, digital devices have taken their time away from exploring their off-screen hobbies and interests. 

Just like kids in the cities who are not exposed to nature and farms, it may not come as a surprise if kids often stuck at home have not seen certain species of flora and fauna. 

Nature and the wilderness are natural remedies for relieving stress, and they teach us various life lessons that we can impart to our kids. Instead of going to the malls for family time, we encourage you to take your kids hiking to be in one with nature. How does hiking benefit our kids in their health and development then?

Instil curiosity 

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Kids have an inherent curiosity about many facets of the world and humanity. By bringing our kids to mountains or forests, the sceneries they stumble upon on their hiking journey will unleash their curiosity. They can learn about the functions of the plants (eg. Venus flytraps prey on bugs) as well as fun facts about bugs and animals. This further expands their worldview, helping them develop the idea that our environment is inhabited by tons of creatures beyond our imagination.

The more they hike, the more they want to learn about what nature has to offer. They’ll bring home a new discovery after every hike. Perhaps beautiful flower petals or quirkily shaped leaves that they can turn into bookmarks. Or a little ladybug that they can bring home as a pet.

And of course, along the way, they’ll also realise the importance of environmental conservation to humankind. They become more appreciative of nature’s role in our lives, have more environmental awareness and practise sustainability in their daily habits, such as saving water when not in use, not disposing of plastic waste everywhere, reducing the use of disposable items, etc. 

Cultivate imagination and adventurousness 

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Going outdoors will encourage kids to be more daring in trying new, exciting activities. While walking along the trails, crossing bridges and climbing up large rocks, younger kids can start making up stories about fighting monsters to cross over to the other side of the river, while older kids will become more engaged with their surrounding as they get exposed to varying terrains and features.

Teach your kids to observe their surroundings, and you can also be more creative with it by adding a game element to the hike. For instance, name 3 plants your kids saw along the trail or create a tiny scavenger hunt when you’re walking a few steps ahead of your kids. 

Help them tap into their adventurous side by introducing life skills to them. For instance, trailblazing, removing a leech, tying knots, using a first aid kit to treat wounds, and picking up litter from the ground can improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As they become more familiar with the outdoors, they will naturally be more prone to taking part in new sports and trips.

Improve physical and mental health

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Not only does hiking improve one’s physical health in terms of shedding calories, but it also helps to relieve stress and improve mood. As parents and kids are immersed in the natural sceneries, they are taking a break from the bustling connected world.

Instead of grappling with the fear of missing out, they will be more in touch with their emotions and senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Hearing the sounds of the forest, feeling the warmth from the sunlight shining through the leaves, breathing in fresh, crisp air… all of these ease our tension and help clear the clutter in our minds.

For kids who are always at the top of their game in school, they might feel suffocated by academic workload and exams. Hiking is a good opportunity for them to unwind, so they’ll feel more refreshed as they return to their normal school routine.  

If you’re taking your kids hiking for the first time, fret not, here we have compiled a list of things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth hiking journey.

5 Quick Tips for Hiking with Kids

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  1. Choose a hike with some rocks, logs, bridges, creeks, or boardwalks for your kids to climb and play on. The trail should be kid-friendly too.
  2. Wear the right hiking gear such as shoes, breathable activewear, long pants, and a hat or cap. Sunglasses and walking sticks are optional.
  3. Pack your backpack with enough essentials - water, snacks, candies, sunscreen, towel, basic first aid supplies, magnifying glass, binoculars, pen and paper for notetaking, insect repellent, hand sanitiser, and wet wipes.
  4. Bring along more companions - whether they’re your furry babies or family’s close friends to add extra fun and interaction to the experience.
  5. Keep the pace slow, and take all the time you need. Plan for frequent stops so you and your kids can take quick breaks.
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